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Or for the laurel, he may gain a scorn;
For a good poet's made, as well as born..
And such wert thou! Look how the father's face Lives in his issue, even so the race
Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly shine
In his well turned and true filed lines;
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
And make those flights upon the banks of
That so did take Eliza, and our James!
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.
ON THE HONORED POEMS OF HIS HONORED
12 The elder brother of the dramatist, and himself a poet. He died in 1628, at the age of forty-eight. The verses are prefixed to the volume of poems.
In bulwarks, ravelines, ramparts for defence:
But higher power, as spite could not make less,
TO MR. JOHN FLETCHER, UPON HIS FAITHFUL SHEPHERDESS." 13
The wise and many-headed bench, that sits Upon the life and death of plays and wits, (Composed of gamester, captain, knight, knight's
Lady or pucelle, that wears mask or fan,
18 Taken by Whalley from Seward's edition of Beaumont and Fletcher. The Faithful Shepherdess was brought out about 1610.
Velvet or taffeta cap, ranked in the dark
With the shop's foreman, or some such brave spark
That may judge for his sixpence) had, before They saw it half, damned thy whole play, and
Their motives were, since it had not to do
With vices, which they looked for, and came to.
Or moths shall eat what all these fools admire.
EPITAPH ON THE COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE.'
Underneath this sable hearse
14 The accomplished sister of Sir Philip Sidney, who dedicated to her his Arcadia. The Countess of Pembroke wrote some graceful poems, translated the tragedy of Antony from the French, and joined her brother in a translation of the Psalms, which was first published in 1823. Spenser speaks of her as
"Most resembling, both in shape and spirit, Her brother dear."
She died in 1621.
The above epitaph was first introduced into the collected works of Ben Jonson by Whalley, on the ground that it was 'universally assigned to him.' Jonson's claim to it, however, is by no means certain. In a manuscript collection of Browne's poems, preserved amongst the Lansdowne MSS. in
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother:
Time shall throw a dart at thee.
the British Museum, the epitaph is ascribed to Browne, with the following additional stanza : —
"Marble piles let no man raise
To her name for after days,
Shall turn marble, and become
Both her mourner and her tomb."
Osborne published this stanza under the impression that the whole piece was written by Jonson; and Gifford, who calls these lines a 'paltry addition,' and condemns them upon a groundless charge of inconsistency, says that the critics ought to have known that they were copied from the poems of the Earl of Pembroke, 'to whose pen they are assigned by the prefix of his usual initials.' Now Gifford himself ought to have known that the prefix of his lordship's initials cannot be admitted as proof of the authorship, it being notorious to all readers familiar with the literature of the period, that the Earl of Pembroke, to use the language of a writer entitled to be heard on the subject, had the fame of a poet, but that his right to the poems ascribed to him has been questioned as standing on no adequate authority.' That no part of this epitaph was written by the Earl of Pembroke is established by the MS. in the Museum, which contains, together with other pieces, a song by Lord Pembroke. This latter circumstance collaterally supports the evidence, for had his Lordship also written the epitaph, it is only reasonable to assume that it would have been also ascribed to him. The question of the authorship, dismissing Pembroke's pretensions to any share in it, may thus be fairly stated that while Jonson's claim rests upon no more definite authority than that of tradition, Browne's is directly asserted in an
A VISION ON THE MUSES OF HIS FRIEND
It hath been questioned, Michael, if I be
And though I now begin, 'tis not to rub Haunch against haunch, or raise a rhyming club
authentic MS. undoubtedly comprising a large collection of his poems which had long been supposed to have been lost. A further presumption in favor of Browne may be raised upon the intimate relations which existed between him and Pembroke. That he should have furnished an epitaph for the tomb of an admirable woman, whose death was deeply deplored by his friend and patron, is, at least, extremely probable; and this probability is strengthened by the elegy which some years afterwards he dedicated to her memory.-B.
15 Whalley observes that these lines contain "an enumeration of Drayton's poems, with our author's testimony to their merits." It is scarcely necessary to point out that the "enumeration" does not include the "Odes," "Pastorals," "The Muses' Elysium," and many other pieces, some of which were of a later date than the edition of Drayton's works to which this panegyric was prefixed Jonson was one of Drayton's most intimate friends; yet in his loose conversations with Drummond he spoke slightingly of him, saying that Drayton "feared him, and that he esteemed not of him." Drayton died in 1631.-B. The lines are prefixed to the second volume of Drayton's works, which came out, in folio, in 1627.-G.